The MiG-21 (NATO code name “Fishbed”) has the distinction of being the most-produced supersonic jet aircraft in history. It has served in the Air Forces of more than 60 countries around the world and continues to fly for a number of countries even today. Early versions of the MiG-21 were equipped with the SK-1 ejection seat while later versions were equipped with the KM-1 ejection seat.
One of Eduard’s newest lines of photo-etch is a series of seat belts and harnesses for a number of aircraft made out of photo-etched steel instead of brass. This set provides complete harnesses and ejection handles for two ejection seats. Based on the instructions for this set, it appears it is designed for the later KM-1 seat, so it would be appropriate for later versions of the MiG-21.
As I have a number of Fujimi MiG-21s, I decided to see how the belts fit the kit seat. As the Fujimi seat has molded on harnesses and lap belts, the first step is to gently scrape and sand out these molded on details. In reviewing a number of pictures of the KM-1 seat, it appears most, if not all, were originally painted a light grey color overall with a tan or light brown seat pan and parachute pack. I painted my seat with Light Gull Grey and used Tamiya Khaki for the seat pan and parachute pack. One big difference that is noticeable as soon as you cut out your first etched part is that they are much more flexible than photo-etched brass is in this scale. For seat belts and harnesses, this is a plus and a minus. The plus is that they are much easier to bend and fold to get them into the shape you want. The minus is that they are also much easier to bend the wrong way and can be a bit fragile when trying to fix an error. Like regular brass etch, they are attached with superglue. I used a gel superglue with a medium setting time to allow me to get the parts where I wanted them before it set up.
Once I learned to be careful and to tack one end of the part in place before trying to shape the rest of it, things went were well and the installation was completed pretty quickly. The paint on the belts and harnesses held up well and the only touchup I had to do was the red on the ejection handles as they are split in half and need to be carefully folded together before committing to glue. I was a little off on my lineup of the two halves, so I needed just a little Tamiya red to cover up the mismatched sides.
There are no decals with the set, just the photo-etch, but as shown in the photos, the set makes a huge difference in the appearance of the seat.
I hope Eduard releases a similar set for the SK-1 seat for early MiG-21s too. I know I will be picking up a couple more sets for my other MiG-21s. Highly recommended!
Thank you to Eduard for the review sample and to IPMS-USA for letting me review it.